FindLaw Review: Legal SEO and Website Marketing Horror Stories

Legal SEO and Website Marketing Horror Stories

If you’re a lawyer that’s thinking about using FindLaw for your law firm website or SEO purposes, you need to read this guide. The information below can help you avoid disastrous scenarios and major setbacks for your legal site, lead generation, and search engine optimization.

We’ll break down the pros and cons of FindLaw, and you’ll hear the stories of real lawyers who used FindLaw’s legal marketing services. I’ll also share my personal experiences with FindLaw over the years and explain how to properly extract yourself from their services.

Key Takeaways

While FindLaw has one of the largest law firm directories on the market, you should tread cautiously before you consider using their legal marketing and SEO services. The company has a long history of negative reviews and nightmare stories for law firms that date back more than a decade.

Your FindLaw site and domain may not actually belong to you, and you have very little control over crucial SEO elements of your site. So if you utilize these services and then want to leave, you may need to completely rebuild your website or have a professional team repair the damage. FindLaw sites have even been penalized by Google for black hat SEO tactics in violation of Google’s policies.

I’ve personally had to help my clients repair significant SEO damage to their sites due to FindLaw’s practices. Most recently, I had to go back and change over 500 pages on a client’s law firm site because FindLaw did not make it easy to transition away from their services—resulting in the wrong call-tracking numbers on nearly all of my client’s content.

The overwhelming number of similar stories you can quickly find through a quick Google search shows that these aren’t just one-off scenarios. There are enough red flags out there that should make you concerned and think twice before using FindLaw. Working with a smaller and more reputable law firm marketing agency could be a much smarter choice for your legal practice, and it will help you avoid the concerns associated with FindLaw.

What is FindLaw?

FindLaw is an online legal directory that’s designed to connect people with lawyers in their area. They have an extensive law firm directory and provide resources and forms to people who have questions about hiring a lawyer and similar topics.

For law firms, FindLaw also provides legal marketing services through the website


FindLaw’s vast network of legal directories is one of the main reasons why lawyers are drawn to the service.

FindLaw Services

FindLaw provides legal marketing services like:

  • Website packages
  • PPC advertising
  • SEO
  • Attorney ratings and reviews
  • Content marketing
  • Legal directories
  • Mobile-friendly sites

FindLaw’s website program suite includes site design, local visibility, content generation, and more. But if you utilize this service, you may not actually have control of your website.

Pros and Cons of FindLaw for Law Firm Marketing

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of using FindLaw’s legal marketing services.


The best thing about FindLaw is its vast legal marketing directory. Law firms can access all directories within the Thomas Reuters directory network, including,, Super Lawyers, and According to FindLaw’s site, these platforms get over 130 million visits and six million engagements per year.

The Premium profile starting at $158 per month isn’t an unreasonable entry point for the directories either.


Beyond the directory exposure, the drawbacks of using FindLaw may outweigh the positives.

  • If you don’t purchase your domain on your own and you’re using FindLaw’s website services, there’s a chance that you don’t actually own your domain.
  • Ending your arrangement with FindLaw could result in the loss of existing call tracking numbers, source code, images, data, files, and more.
  • You may get locked into a long-term contract and have trouble breaking the service to get your site back.
  • You may have to pay an additional fee to get your website back from FindLaw.
  • Some customers report being “bullied” by FindLaw to purchase add-ons for things like blog content creation, live chat, social media, PPC, and other services.
  • These services are fairly expensive for what you’re actually getting in return.
  • Many of the website designs are flawed and outdated.
  • The SEO services aren’t built to last, and FindLaw has been penalized by Google for paid links.
  • The content creation is not up to the standard that most legal professionals want published on their sites.
  • You might be forced to completely rebuild your website after breaking ties with FindLaw.
  • The website arrangement with FindLaw is set up in a way that makes it extremely difficult for you to leave so that you’re almost forced to continue using the service.
  • FindLaw’s own directories are a conflict of interest with your law firm’s website since you’re essentially competing for the same keywords.
  • Findlaw may own all of the creative assets on your website.
  • You may not be able to recover your email domain, Google My Business account, or tracking phone numbers if you break ties with FindLaw.

We’ll talk more about where these negative comments are coming from below as we dive deeper into real stories of lawyers who used FindLaw and were less than satisfied with the outcomes.

A Word of Caution: Lawyers and Marketing Professionals Share Common Problems With FindLaw’s Services

The vast majority of lawyers and marketing professionals are familiar with FindLaw. If you start asking around, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone who had an unfavorable experience with the service.

I’ve found some interesting stories on the web highlighting some of FindLaw’s flaws and summarized them below.

Story #1 — A bankruptcy lawyer in San Mateo was using FindLaw’s website service but was unhappy with the low-quality backlinks that FindLaw provided, which had a negative impact on his site performance. FindLaw also didn’t install Google Analytics on the site, and whenever he brought up this concern, they just tried to upsell him on other packages. When he tried to move his website off of FindLaw to his own host, FindLaw simply pulled the plug on his website, causing a 404 not found error message to be found when anyone visited his domain. The lawyer had to create a completely new site from scratch and had to rewrite everything since he did not own any of the content on his FindLaw site.

Story #2One unhappy FindLaw customer was interested in FindLaw’s website services but FindLaw was unwilling to create a website for them on WordPress. While they eventually agreed, they would not allow the customer to host the site on their own domain host. When this lawyer had enough of FindLaw’s subpar service, they paid $15,000 to buy out their own website back from FindLaw—and FindLaw still continued to bill them for services.

Story #3Several attorneys left reviews saying that they paid top dollar for FindLaw’s services, but didn’t actually get any leads. One customer said they’re paying over $2,600 per month, and several say that they’re unable to get out of their contracts, despite the lack of results.

Common Problems With FindLaw

lack of results

There are dozens of stories just like these that can be found all over the web, on forums, and on third-party review sites. While each story has a different law firm, they all echo the same pattern of complaints.

My Personal Experience With FindLaw

I want to preface by saying I have more than 20 years of experience in the legal marketing industry. I never want to bash other companies, and that’s truly not the purpose of this review. I simply want to call out some of the unbelievably consistent stories that I’ve personally witnessed with FindLaw for more than a decade.

One client of mine just transitioned away from FindLaw. We had been publishing amazing content for the site for months, only to now realize that he’s not getting any phone calls because FindLaw didn’t inform him that he’d lose the phone-tracking numbers on his content. So my team had to go back into his site and manually change over 500 pages that had the wrong phone numbers.

While this is just the most recent experience, I have similar stories that go back over 15 years.

Another client of mine had dead tracking numbers on over 300 pages that FindLaw never mentioned would be an issue when they broke ties. FindLaw wouldn’t let my client move to a new host without a total rebuild. This took one month to complete.

Back in 2012, I had a client that had to completely re-do all of their title tags when they moved away from FindLaw.

15 years ago, FindLaw published duplicate content related to auto incidents on one of my client’s sites that they used on hundreds of other sites in the exact same format.

These experiences are not just one-offs or anomalies, and they’re consistent with tons of other horror stories I’ve found on the web.

How to Extract Yourself From FindLaw

If you’re currently using FindLaw and you’re alarmed by what you’ve read so far, don’t panic just yet. While you may have some trouble breaking ties with FindLaw, there’s still hope for minimizing the blowback.

Here’s what you need to do to make a clean break:

  • Read your contract closely to see the terms and potential payments for early termination
  • Prepare to buy back your domain from FindLaw if you didn’t purchase it prior to the arrangement with them
  • Get new phone tracking numbers that will forward to your actual phone number before you cut ties
  • Prepare to transfer your email hosting and Google My Business account
  • Know that you may lose some data related to your site that FindLaw still owns, even if you try to purchase it back
  • Get ready to make major technical changes to your site to ensure you don’t have dead links, tag management issues, page errors, and other technical SEO issues

Most lawyers aren’t developers and don’t have the in-house expertise to handle this stuff smoothly. So it’s in your best interest to consult with another legal marketing agency before you terminate your FindLaw agreement. They’ll help walk you through the process and make sure your new site is up and running as quickly as possible—minimizing loss of traffic and leads.

FindLaw Alternatives

Any smaller boutique legal marketing agency will be a better alternative than FindLaw. We’d be happy to help you here at Legal Marketing Review, but truthfully, there are plenty of other agencies that you can hire besides us too.

In addition to my decades of experience in the legal marketing world, I also have first-hand experience working with clients who cut ties with FindLaw. My team has the technical expertise and knowledge required to make a smooth transition away from FindLaw.

We also offer:

  • SEO for law firms
  • Google Ads and PPC for lawyers
  • Social media services
  • Law firm web design
  • CRO services
  • Email marketing
  • Legal marketing consulting

Contact us now for a free consultation.

Final Verdict

It’s my opinion that there are serious concerns with FindLaw. Despite it being one of the largest players in the legal marketing world and having a massive law firm directory, with amazing SEO on their own site, there are just too many negative stories and unusual practices to ignore.

If you want to work with a company that specializes in legal marketing and has first-hand experience successfully extracting people from FindLaw, we’d be happy to help you out.

We know what it takes to repair and rebuild SEO for law firms leaving FindLaw. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to get more information.

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